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As the Miami Heat evened their first-round series against the Philadelphia 76ers with a 113-103 victory in Game 2 on Monday night, Joel Embiid made it known he is not happy that he is being held out of action.
And he’s not sure when he will be allowed back on the court.
Embiid—who has been out since March 28 after suffering an orbital fracture and concussion in a collision with teammate Markelle Fultz—took to Instagram to vent his frustrations:
The All-Star explained the post to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne: “I promised the city the playoffs and I’m not on the court and I may not be on Thursday either. I wish more than anything that I was out there. I just want the green light to play.”
The 7’0″, 250-pound center averaged 22.9 points, 11 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game during the regular season.
While some teams may not like seeing their star call out their organization, Philadelphia coach Brett Brown respects Embiid’s desire to compete, via NBA TV:
NBA TV @NBATV
“He just wants to play basketball, he wants to be with his team… I respect his frustration.” Brett Brown on @JoelEmbiid’s “sick and tired” social media post. #NBAPlayoffs https://t.co/mvOFsmFrKM
In defense of the franchise’s decision to be cautious with the injury, the 76ers entered Game 2 on a 17-game winning streak, including the last nine without the former No. 3 overall pick. That success has allowed the team to be patient and try to wait for him to get healthy rather than rush him back.
He has, however, been fitted for a mask that could allow him to play while limiting the risk of further injury:
Chris Szagola/Associated Press
Of course, this is not the first time Embiid has been itching to get back on the court. A foot injury sidelined him his first two seasons in the league, and he was also limited to just 31 games last season due to a knee injury.
Embiid has been at the center of “The Process” for years, and now that his team has a chance to show that it has worked, he wants to play. While he could have handled the matter privately, he put the pressure on the organization publicly to let him back on the court.